Hamlet 2 Review

10 Sep



Ok, I promise tomorrow will be back to Vacation coverage!

Hamlet 2 is about a horrible actor turned drama teacher (aren’t they all) who is forced to write an original play to save the drama department. He decides to write a long awaited sequel to Shakespeare’s work of art, Hamlet. For those of you who may have never seen nor heard about the original masterpiece I’ll give you a little hint: At the end, they all die. All of the main characters commit suicide or are murdered by the end.

This movie follows the mundane life of Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan), the aforementioned horrible actor. The movie opens by giving the audience snippets of Dana’s horrible acting ability including a cameo in Xena: Warrior Princess and an anti-herpes medicine commercial. It is obvious very quickly that Marschz was not cut out to be an actor. From the start one of the running gags is that every time someone pronounces Dana’s last name, they pronounce it differently and nearly every time Dana’ attempts to correct them with no success.

The first “play” we see Marschz direct (and he also wrote) is a stage adaptation of Erin Brokovich using his two actors. His class was only a class of two students (both very white) until the portable classrooms are shut down leaving only drama as an elective for these students (mainly latino). In the movie one of the new students mentions losing shop class, yet later the shop class helps the drama class out. One of the many visual gags in the movie is the fact that the Drama class meets in the “Snackatorium” and while teaching Marschz has to deal with the lunchroom ladies restocking and cleaning up.

Eventually Marschz is told by the Principal that the drama class has been cancelled and this will be his last semester (due to budget cuts of course). Marschz, not knowing what to do, goes to his arch nemesis and school paper theater reviewer (a very VERY young looking high schooler) who gives Marschz the advice he needs to save the program. He tells Marschz that he needs to write an original piece and not another film adaptation.

With this advice Marschz goes home and writes Hamlet 2, because he doesn’t understand why everyone had to die in the first one. In order to bring the characters back Marschz has a “device.” He uses a time machine that allows him to save the characters and tell a new story, in essence completely violating the original work of Shakespeare. The rest of the play is a mash up of just about every musical you have ever seen. It has light saber duels, low riders, surfer boys, Einstein and yes, Jesus.

I will stop here and say that yes I am a Christian (Lutheran in fact) and I understand that some of what happens in this play can be considered blasphemous. However, you go into a movie like this understanding that they are aiming to push the line far enough to get some reaction out of you and if you don’t pay attention you will miss the overall message, which was very much in line with the Christian faith. This is entertainment and should be taken with a grain of salt.

As you have probably seen in the previews one of the songs in the play is “Rock me, Sexy Jesus.” Marschz explains that if Jesus were to return in this day and age he would have to compete with the celebrities of now to grab our short attention spans and to do so he may have to market his “rocking swimmer bod.”

The conflict in the movie comes when the Principal gets a copy of the script and bans the play from being performed. The same night when Marschz arrives home he finds his pregnant wife is leaving him. Apparently Marschz had been shooting blanks anyways. Without a car Marschz uses roller skates to get around the city and falls quite often. He skates to the liquor store (already hammered on Peach Schnapps) and asks for something strong and cheap. The cashier sells him grain alcohol. Marschz has given up on the play at this point and has decided to drink himself into oblivion (a feeling I know well).

Instead of giving up, his students, originally against the drama thing, come up with a way to put the show together even bringing in a representative from the ACLU to make sure the play goes on. Cricket Feldstein (Amy Proehler) is sent to help. Cricket quickly explains not to worry about the last name, she married “a jew.” She also tells Marschz that the play being “good” is inconsequential.

An interesting semi-cameo in the movie is that of Elisabeth Shue who plays herself, but she plays herself as having given up on the business and now works as a nurse at the fertility clinic. So she is playing herself, but not really.

In the end, of course, the play goes on and while some are disgusted, others find themselves enjoying it.

If you are from or enjoy Tuscon, Arizona you may not like this movie as they make fun of the city quite extensively.

The Gay Men’s Choir of Tuscon provides much of the music for the play and their rendition of Elton John’sSomeone Saved My Life Tonight” is actually moving. The choir is one of many “WTF” moments that both Rob and I said “are they really doing that song?” Here is one of the plays “original” songs “Raped in the Face.”

Overall I know this movie is NOT for everyone. If you are a fan of South Park, you will probably like this one. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. It will have you rolling out of your chair.

Quote of the movie: “It’s a slippery slope! Beer, dope, coke, chicks with dicks then jail!”

Below is the “red band trailer”:


One Response to “Hamlet 2 Review”

  1. sunshinekmp September 10, 2008 at 10:16 am #

    I think I’ll skip this one…but I’m sure someone will like it!

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